South Bay

4th of July Fireworks Cruises for Families in LA and OC

We landlubbers love our fireworks, don't we? Whether we're in a back yard lawn chair, or pushing the kids up a ladder to the roof, or being wowed by a sky full of flare and color at the local pier, we don't want to miss this very American 4th of July custom. Well, if you think the view from the shore is stunning, try witnessing the spectacle from a boat. That's a holiday memory your kiddos won't soon forget! Several small cruise boats set sail this Independence Day, with 2-3 hour tours to delight you and your first mates. Snuggle on deck under a blanket and watch the sky come alive as the water sparkles below. Read on to find a boat leaving a port near you.

Free Summer Concerts and Outdoor Concert Series in LA and OC

Check back often; we continue adding concerts throughout the season!

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or better yet, get out of the house. Summer in the Southland means outdoor concerts galore (and many are free!) at a host of local parks, museums, and public spaces from the coast to the hills to the Valleys. Go on, get out. Throw down a blanket, spread out the snacks, uncork the wine, and watch the kids boogie under the evening stars as you sway to some cool and breezy melodies. Below are some of our favorite free concert series that return every year; check our daily calendar to find dozens more!

Fireworks! 35 Different 4th of July Displays in Los Angeles & Orange County

Who's ready for some rockets' red glare? LA and Orange County's many communities compete for sky space on July 4th, launching fireworks willy-nilly at the stroke of 9pm. From the mountains, to the valleys, to the ocean, Angelenos have plenty of directions to look on Independence Day. Whether your plan is to book a fireworks cruise, to lay a blanket in a park, or to close all the windows and try not to wake the baby, it helps to know where those firecrackers are being aimed. Below is a list of locations lighting up the night sky on the 4th of July (plus one on June 24). We'll keep adding more right up to the day!

50 FREE Things Kids Can Do in LA this Summer

Summer's great, isn't it? So much time, so much to do. All the things that can't be squeezed into the cursedly short time between school, homework, and dinner can be enjoyed at leisure, without stress of school night bedtimes. Summer means not a care in the world—except how to pay for all this frivolity, right? 'Cause we sure aren't getting a whole lot of work done! The answer? Summer freebies. Become an expert on how long your kids can get in free to Southland activities. Hit all the free museum days. And then start working your way down this list of totally free things to do with LA kids over the summer!

Freebies & Free Stuff for Dad on Father's Day in Los Angeles

There are lots of ways to celebrate Father's Day. You can do a special-occasion meal among sharks, presidents, or the night market masses. You can brunch among vintage airplanes. We've got Father's Day adventures to recommend for every kind of dad. But most of these ideas require parting with a little of that Tooth Fairy cash. Wouldn't Dad prefer something more, well, FREE? Sure he would! Dad loves a freebie as much as the next guy. So check out these free offers just for dads, and just on Father's Day.

15 Parent and Me Swim Classes To Keep LA & OC Babies and Toddlers Afloat

I wasn't born in water like some babies are, but I certainly could have lived in it when I was young. It's no wonder, because kids dig water, and the younger we start them in it, the earlier they build the skills needed to swim confidently and safely. Mommy and Me – or Daddy and Me – classes are a fun and bonding introduction to a lifelong love of swimming. And lucky for us and our tots, there are classes galore all around the Southland. We know some Great Private Swim Classes for LA Kids, but the classes below are all about taking the plunge alongside your wee one. Dive into our extensive list of area Mommy or Daddy and Me classes.

Free (or Almost Free) Summer Movies for Families All Over LA

And... action! As summer kicks off, a familiar annual scene is playing out at locations throughout the Southland: the season of free, nearly free, and gloriously cheap outdoor summer movie series has started rolling. At museumsparks, beaches, and malls, indoors and outdoors, in the early morning and by the light of the moon, families can catch both recent blockbusters and timeless classics for free or close to it. (While free is awesome, we think a dollar is still pretty good!)

Below you can find our comprehensive guide to free (and darn close to it) summer movie screenings and festivals. Click on the event names for more details, including movie titles. And keep checking back, because we'll continue to post more listings as they are announced, throughout the 2017 summer movie season.

Memorial Day Weekend for LA Kids: Greeks, Scots, Music, and Fireworks

First and foremost, Memorial Day is about the members of the armed forces who gave their lives in our nation’s service. Their sacrifice is unimaginable, our debt to them beyond measure. To those lost, and to those who serve our nation and all it stands for, we salute you.

The weekend is not all somber reflection: Memorial Day also means a long weekend, and the unofficial start of summer. Festival is the word of the day: throughout the Southland folks gather to enjoy yummies and wild art, and to celebrate different cultures (including Greek, Scottish, and Topangan). Discovery Cube LA opens a new exhibit, and Discovery Cube OC flies in with two of its own.

And, of course, Memorial Day weekend closes with tributes to our fallen heroes. Ceremonies are being held at the Nixon Presidential Library, in Burbank and Canoga Park, and at Woodlawn and Forest Lawn Cemeteries.

Read on for some of our favorite picks for this three-day holiday weekend...

15 Great LA Parks for Birthday Parties Kids Will Rave About

Lucky for us, hosting mostly free kids’ birthday parties at the many glorious parks around Los Angeles is available year round; and with our famous weather, it’s a pretty safe perk to gamble on. From rustic to scenic to built-in activities, the city’s bounty is near limitless. And the best part: no sticky floor and dirty fingerprints to scour afterward. Be sure to check whether there are additional fees around parking or other rules; LA City parks, for example, require a permit fee for bounce houses (we have an entire post just on parks that allow bounce houses). Read on for some of our favorite party parks, with ideas for themes at each one. And check out these other parks with barbecue grills and parks with gated playgrounds, too.

Mother's Day Weekend Things To Do with LA Kids: Fire Service Day, Airport Day, and Brunch

Here's what Momma wants for Mother's Day: ice cream, firemen, and frappuccinos. All the rest is just whipped cream on said frap. Sure, there are other things that will be greatly appreciated. Ice show with world champions? Don't mind if I do! A magical musical movie screening? Are you a wizard reading my mind, Harry? And yes, I would be delighted to accompany you to brunch. Is there bacon at said brunch? More's the better.

Of course, every mom is different. One size does not fit all, which is why frappuccinos come in grande, venti, and some other size. Did I mention I'm a mom? I totally deserve this.

There are some other things going on this weekend: the final weekend of the Flashlight exhibit (with a free photo for Grandma or Mom), a breakfast with gibbons (see how well they treat their mamas), the Anaheim Baby Show (for Moms new to the momming business), and a bunch of clever craft activities that can double as gifts for Mom (aw, isn't that thoughtful!). There are even freebies for Mom, because, really, where would you be without her?  

Call your mom; send her some flowers, and keep reading for some of our most maternal picks for this weekend.

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